My Fanny Pack

Photo Credit: The Wikipedia
Photo Credit: The Wikipedia

I have trouble holding on to my personal belongings. If it's not attached to me, I will lose it. I can't tell you how many scarves have simply blown away, how many gloves have been lost on walks to and from home or school. I can't tell you how many times as a child I have been brought to tears on the charge that I was careless and did not understand the value of that hand knit pair of gloves or the sweater that was forgotten at school as soon as the sun came out.

And then there's my purse. Where did I put my purse? Did I leave it in chambers or in opposing counsel's office? I have even been known to drive off using my spare key, leaving my purse and all my other keys and credentials miles away in a diner.

Nobody I know can really understand what the problem is. How hard can it be?

But the fact is that until I discovered the fanny pack, my life was a mess!

Time versus Place

The first time I saw a fanny pack, I was on my way to a Blake's Seven convention in Newark, New Jersey. I had just gotten off the plane when I saw the first one. A woman had her purse firmly attached to her waist. How interesting! What a clever idea that woman had had. Then I saw another one. And yet another!

I went out and waited for the hotel shuttle, and everywhere outside there were people with fanny packs. This must be a strange custom that people in New Jersey have! I thought.

When I see a new product, I always tend to attribute the new idea to the first person I see using it. Then when I see that lots of people have the same product, I think it's a local custom. Only later, when I return home, do I realize that the new idea is not a function of place, but rather of time. When I returned to the DFW metroplex, people there started to put on fanny packs, too.

This mistake in interpreting new data has happened to me on a number of occasions. The fanny packs came out in the 1980s. I didn't notice the trend until I left Texas for a brief visit to New Jersey, but it's possible that people around me were already wearing them before I left, and I just didn't notice.

The first time I saw roller blades, I was visiting the campus of Rice University where I was about to become a grad student. It was the early nineties. I saw the rollerblades as a sign of intelligence among Rice students, but actually the students at Rice hadn't invented rollerblades. They were just going along with a new trend.

The first time I saw a DVD, or a DVD player, was in Taiwan. It was the turn of the 21st century, but I thought that maybe DVDs were a strange Taiwanese custom. They weren't. The sudden appearance of DVDs was a function of time and not of place.

I attribute inventions to the people who use them, because I tend to think of people as individuals, and I expect them to invent new things and to come up with new ideas. Most people I encounter, however, are just the opposite. They don't expect anyone to invent anything. They expect that all people, just like them, follow trends. When you present a new idea to them, they ask: where did you hear that? If you tell them that you thought of it yourself, they often won't believe you.

Like all fashion trends, the fad of wearing a fanny pack had its day, and then it faded. Most of the people who joined the tail end of the fad were simply wearing fanny packs because other people were wearing fanny packs. When other people stopped wearing fanny packs, they stopped, too.

There are fashion leaders, and there are fashion followers. But I am pretty much oblivious to fashion. I was a true convert. The fanny pack solved a real problem for me.

What was the problem? I think it's a disorder of the "executive function". I can't walk and chew gum. I can't multitask. I can locate my car in a crowded parking lot, or I can engage in conversation, but I can't do both. I am good at concentrating my attention on one problem at a time. I can't keep track of my belongings and do something else at the same time. Really!

You're probably thinking, it's just a matter of skill. You could improve your skill level at multitasking. If you were really motivated, you could do it! Well, I was really motivated! As a child I was taken to task for losing things, but it never produced positive results. As an adult I had the same problem. The fanny pack solved the problem once and for all. Instead of guilt and fear, I could experience the personal pride of a human being who always knew where her things were.

There are probably other people just like me who recognized the true power of the fanny pack, and this is why it became stigmatized as the sort of thing that nerds wear. The day came when I went to Wal*Mart looking for a replacement fanny pack, and there was none. I asked a salesperson for help. I described what I wanted. I told them where they used to display the fanny packs. But the answer came back ominously: "We don't carry those anymore."

My heart fell. How would I survive without a fanny pack? With a chimpanzee riding on my back all day long, how would I keep track of my belongings? How would I avoid losing my checkbook or my driver's license or the key to the car?

Things looked grim. I had to take matters into my own hands. I went to a local seamstress and I showed her my old fanny pack, now useless from too much wear and tear. "Can you make me one just like it?" I asked.

Yes. I commissioned the making of a counterfeit fanny pack!

Now you know what that weird blue thing is around my waist in my profile picture. It's a fanny pack made of denim that I had commissioned especially for me. Am I the inventor of the fanny pack? No. But I did rip off the idea so that I could hold onto my things.

There's an economic lesson in there somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is. I welcome your interpretation of the data!


(c) 2009 Aya Katz

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Comments 40 comments

Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

So that's what the blue thingie in your pic is! Aya - you might just have a designer's profession waiting round the corner!! :D Fun hub, thanks!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks, Shalini! I don't think that I have a designing career in my future, but I also don't submit easily to the loss of a product that I like just because the market has moved on. I make my own soda pop, too!


Ef El Light profile image

Ef El Light 7 years ago from New York State

This is from ebags on the differences of packs:

The terms waist packs, lumbar packs and fanny packs are often used interchangeably, although they vary in styling and functionality. Waist packs and lumbar packs tend to be larger and have more technical features, such as moisture-wicking back panels, compression straps, and water bottle holders. These are ideal for short day hikes and bike rides, though many people use them for around town. So-called fanny packs are smaller, and are primarily designed to carry wallets, money, keys, and other small accessories while about town.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

F.L. Light, thanks for the added information about the distinction between waist packs and fanny packs. I actually prefer the smaller fanny packs, because then I am not tempted to carry around with me things that I don't really need.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Aya, this is so cute! I love the self analysis that goes along with the description of this product. My best friend when I was small was Catholic. I used to attribute things to Catholics, like, "Well, your mother carries a shopping list and mine doesn't. I guess this means Catholics carry shopping lists but Lutherans don't." It was pretty funny, this early stereotyping. I guess we are simply trying to make sense of the world, right?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Storytellersrus, thanks! I can see where you'd get the idea that Catholics and Lutherans must have different shopping habits! It is easy to jump to these conclusions, isn't it?


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 7 years ago from Sunny Spain

I always enjoy your hubs, you have such a unique way of looking at things that your hubs are a little bit quirky it is refreshing in a world where things are tending to become more and more the same and increasingly bland.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Maggs, thanks! I can't help being a little quirky, but it is encouraging to find that this is not always a bad thing!


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 7 years ago from Sunny Spain

In your case it most certainly is not a bad thing


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Maggs, thanks! That's reassuring.


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

They are still popular here in Florida, especially with the snow birds and Canadians on vacation. Still can find them sold in the flea markets and some stores. I liked them because I could go places and still have my hands free, especially when the kids were younger. On the down side though, thieves have targeted wearers of them in some places I've traveled too, slashing the belts and running. It's the reason I don't travel with them anymore, or if I do they don't contain anything important.


Mardi profile image

Mardi 7 years ago from Western Canada and Texas

Aya - I am with you on this one. I know they are still really popular in Canada, perhaps check the Canadian side of eBay if you ever need a new one!

I have also seen similar items in outdoor stores, a bit bigger but still the same general concept. I now ONLY have pants with pockets and carry the bare minimum of items at all times. Great hub, thanks.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 7 years ago

Fanny packs are versatitle and as you pointed out, almost like a kangroo pouch where you keep track of all things personal--keys, money, anti-bacterial soap ( i bet you carry one?). But I don't carry one--my kids would disown me. I know, they told me so.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Jerilee, I guess they must still be popular with tourists. Yes, I like mine because it keeps my hands free, too. That and the security of knowing exactly where it is. I always wear it facing frontwards, which ought to be a help against thieves, but as I'm out in the country, there's really no fear of that.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Mardi, until very recently, I didn't know where to get a new fanny pack, but now I've discovered they have them on Amazon, so it's not a problem, anymore.

Pant pockets for me are a hazard, because if I leave stuff in them, it causes real problems in the laundry. I admire people like you who can manage with just pant pockets, though!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Anglnwu, your kids would disown you? Well, sometimes it takes real courage to take a stand for utility over fashion! ;->


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 7 years ago

LOL--they're at this awkward stage where everything that grown-ups do is not cool.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Anglnwu, I know what you mean. My daughter does not think I am that cool, either. But she lets me keep my fanny pack!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 7 years ago

Good for you. Enjoy your kids--they eventually reach that age where they have an opinion about everything--including what you have on your body. Sigh...


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Anglnwu, yes, they do. But that's something to be thankful for, too. It would be worse, I think, to have children with no opinions of their own!


E. A. Wright profile image

E. A. Wright 7 years ago from New York City

Bravo to you, Aya, for knowing what works for you, then wearing it without a worry in the world.


Miracles27 7 years ago

SORRY AYA A FANNY PACK IS U-G-L-Y IT CAME OUT WHEN I WAS LIKE SIX GOSH ....I THINK BUT ITS UGLY IT AINT GOT NO ALYBY


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

E.A. Wright, thanks! To me, if it's not convenient and useful, it's just not worth it!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Miracles27, you may be right. It may be ugly. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and fashion is fleeting. The irony is that I probably never would have seen a fanny pack, and would never have started wearing one, if it had not become fashionable at one point. If it's ugly now, why wasn't it ugly then?


Robert Ballard 7 years ago

My wife has one of these and and wears it when we are either going to yard sales or having a yard sale. She feels it is a handy attachment and has given much thought so much as to appearnace but the utility of tha unit.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Robert Ballard, thanks for your comment. I imagine a fanny pack would really come in handy when running a yard sale. It has so many different uses. Utility definitely trumps any other consideration for me.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

I keep thinking of The In-Laws movie where Albert Brooks wears his fanny pack.

Angela Harris: Is that a fanny pack?

Steve Tobias: It's cute, isn't it?

Angela Harris: It's adorable.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nicomp, I'm afraid I didn't see that movie. Cute? Adorable? Is that sarcasm? Never heard a fanny pack referred to that way.


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 7 years ago from New York, NY

I never leave home without mine. This Hub made me smile and confirmed why I love mine so much.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Wavegirl22, thanks! Keep on doing what you're doing! If it works for you, that's the only thing that matters.


halleyhoops profile image

halleyhoops 7 years ago from west palm beach

thanks to hipsters/bike punx, fanny packs will dominate!!!!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Halleyhoops, thanks for your comment, and thank goodness for hipsters and bike punx!


AOkay12 profile image

AOkay12 6 years ago from Florida

My boyfriend gave me two fanny packs last month. I love them! Too bad that I didn't have a fanny pack back in April when I lost an expensive cell phone. Oh well. Very interesting Hub.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

AOkay, that was very considerate of your boyfriend! I think there is a lot of social pressure on people not to use fanny packs, even though they are so practical, because they have that "uncool" social stigma. But it's quite different if your significant other says it's okay!


LuvMyFannyPak 4 years ago

We were in Vegas, I had my FP on, as we were walking in the parking lot to the local IHOP, 3 guys pointed at me and started laughing. It appeared they were laughing at my fp, my hubby said "you know, I don't notice ANYone else wearing one of those" and I said "your right I don't either, its out of style but I love my fp". Also, my hubby carried a backpack to put our souviners in and we didn't notice ANYONE carrying that either.

I don't care, I love my fp, my hands are free to look at things while I shop and my shoulders don't have anything weighing them down. Every 15yrs fashions return so I will keep using my fp and if someone doesn't like it....too bad.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

LuvMyFannyPak, thanks! I'm glad I'm not the only one!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

I cannot wear a fanny pack or a belt around my waist because it feels irritating, but these are helpful to people who are on their feet all day - and need to keep track of their belongings. As sweet as my sister is to bring me muffins at work, it drives me bonkers because I will often forget an extra bag, and then I have to dash back to get it. I have to minimize how much stuff I have with me in one place, or I tend to leave something behind and run back two minutes later to get it. My mom had a really nice fanny pack, and she still uses it all the time.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

SweetiePie, it can be a little irritating wearing a fanny pack, and it is also sometimes unflattering since it seems to add to our girth. But in many situations, having a fanny pack is so helpful, and when you have it on, you never forget to take your things with you when you leave.


Tod Zechiel profile image

Tod Zechiel 4 years ago from Florida, United States

Aya - that is what I like to hear, a person who is not a slave to fashion. I take mine fly fishing.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks, Tod. It's good to know there are other intrepid, independent souls out there!

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